Time stood still as Garig ran his hunter’s knife against Chad’s throat. He waited for the moment it would finally slice through his skin, but the moment never came.
Garig was hit multiple times in the back whith bullets and Chad watched as Garig’s albino eyes went wide with shock.
Then there was blood on Garig and on the bedding around Chad. He watched Garig gaze at his hands covered in his own blood and then turn his head to see both Tom and Sam holding large guns, ready to shoot again; there was no need, Garig fell forward on Chad dead.
“Get him off me, get him off me.” Chad yelled.
This time the blood soaking into Chad’s bedding and even dripping on his face didn’t disturb him. He’d become indifferent to this monster who had made his life and his family’s life a hell.
“It’s alright,” both Sam and Tom told Chad.
They removed Garig from him, as he still lay in bed. Chad didn’t waste anytime getting up, although, due to his recent surgery, he moved carefully.
“Whose house is this?” He asked.
“It’s Marrion’s Chad. She’s been taking care of you. We’ve had guards posted at her house. I don’t know how Garig snuck past them,” Sam said.
“He’s a deceptive B$&@(?d; Garig was a terrible man. He’s the reason I’ve been stuck in Russia your whole life. I know you thought I was your Dad.” Tom said.
Chad smiled, “It’s okay Uncle Tom. I never knew you as Dad so calling you UncleTom isn’t a stretch.”
“Uncle Tom, Garig told me he’d been in touch with Mom all these years, but that he murdered her.”
Tom’s eyes went dark. “I’m sorry Chad. We’ll both miss her. I’ve known for a while Mona’s been tipping Garig off. I communicated with Mona often. Garig had her tricked; but she always loved you.”
A stray tear leaked down Chad’s cheek.”Is Marrion okay? I’d like to thank her. I think she likes you Sam, er Dad.”
” She was out when Garig came, thank god. I like her too Chad. I have the time to be with her now if that’s okay with you?”
” It’s great Sam . . . I’m not sure I’ll get used to calling you Dad.” Chad said and Sam chuckled.
“What’s next?” Chad asked.
“Well, this term, you won’t be able to start university but I think in the winter term you can go to school.” Sam said and Tom nodded.
Marrion came into the bedroom checking Chad’s wound, “Your healing fast,” she said. She got up and snuggled under Sam’s arm to his surprise.
Sam peered at Tom, the brother he hadn’t seen in almost nineteen-years. “You look the same Tom, you’ve weathered the years better than me.”
Tom snorted. “We’re still nearly a mirror image of each other. We’re also in the same place we were nineteen-years-ago. How could you betray your own brother?”
“You were working for the Russian’s Tom with Garig. I had to shoot you, leave you in prison — it was my duty. But you didn’t die.”
Tom snickered. “You’d like to have me dead wouldn’t you? Things aren’t exactly as they seem Sam. Now where’s Chad?”
Both brothers heard the back exit door slam and the fire alarm go off shrilly. Tom pushed past Sam; he tackled Marrion and Chad.
Tom put a gun to Chad’s head and threw Marrion to Sam. He shoved Chad into a life boat which began descending.
“I’m not your son,” Chad said, his voice weak from blood-loss.” Someone shot my tattoo. I’m not a nuclear bomb anymore. Leave me alone.”
“Chad, I know you’re my nephew. It used to make me so angry that Sam shot me almost fatally and I went to prison.But I escaped and I’m here now to help you.”
“I didn’t realize how undercover Sam was nearly nineteen-years ago. He didn’t understand how deeply undercover I was and am.”
“Garig put that chip in your tattoo making you into a nuclear bomb. Garig’s the enemy, he always was; though he tried to make me appear to be.” Tom said.
“I don’t trust you. . . ” Chad muttered. He’d lost so much blood he was surprised he was awake. Tom put new gauze on Chad’s gunshot wound and wrapped bandages around his body, enclosing the wound securely.
“Here,” Uncle Tom said. He handed Chad a chain necklace of the family crest.”We’re a loyal family Chad. I would never betray my country, or my ancestors.”
“My friends are waiting Chad. My higher-ups will ensure Sam and Marrion get to where we’re going. Together we need to defeat Garig once and for all. I want to come home.”
Chad, as usual, found himself fading into unconsciousness.
Ah! My apologies this is so late! I’ve never written any continuous thrillers, it’s hard!
“Chad, off the medical table and on the floor!” Uncle Sam yelled as gunfire grew closer.
“I don’t know how he found us Sam.” Marrion said.
“I need to know the truth about my tattoo,” Chad yelled frustrated.
“Secrets are dangerous Chad. They can expose you, crush you like a flower.” Marrion said, gazing between Chad and Sam.”Chad might be safer if . . .”
Sam squeezed Marrion’s hand, “Please, tell Chad what you know.”
“Tom isn’t dead. He wasn’t undercover; he is and was the enemy, has been for nineteen-years.”
“Tom isn’t your Dad; Sam’s your Dad, Chad. Sam and Mona had a drunken night after they thought Tom died.” Marrion admitted.
She peered at Sam, “You should’ve told Chad you were his real Dad. Your name is hidden within Chad’s cartoon seal tattoo. You gave Chad the tattoo as a baby to keep track of him and keep him safe. Chad should also know, you’ve been running from Tom recently, not Garig; Garig is Tom’s lackey.”
Sam sighed, hands shaking. “I kept it secret because if Tom thinks Chad’s his son, he won’t kill him.”
“I was the reason Tom disappeared. My twin brother almost ended up in military prison, sentenced to death.”Sam said regretfully. “What choice did I have? Tom was a traitor and wasn’t the onlyone undercover; I was undercover to bring him down.”
“There’s more Sam,” Marrion said.”Chad’s tattoo has twomore codes. Tom added his own code to track Chad along with a trigger code. I had to be careful when I scanned Chad’s tattoo because of the trigger code.”
“Why?” Sam said afraid.
“Chad is a walking weapon of mass destruction. If anything reads a special encrypted trigger code on his tattoo — Chad explodes. This boat explodes and the water for miles and miles in the ocean will be full of radiation, which will cycle into oceans around the world. There will be great casualties.”
Chad was about to speak. He felt sick again.
Then, a stray bullet bit him; he felt a sharp stinging pain.
A familiar voice shouted loudly, in Russian, as Chad passed-out.
Chad didn’t have the stomach for being in the military. This was especially apparent to them, as a man Uncle Sam knew rowed them out to a large navy vessel, dropping a grapplinghook when they were close.
Chad and his Uncle Sam boarded the the ship.
“What are we doing here, Uncle?”
“We need to to read your tattoo Chad and find out what information is on there. Why Garig wants it so bad.”
“Do you think he’d really kill me? I’m Mona’s son, wouldn’t that mean anything to Garig?” Chad asked.
Sam sighed.”Garig and Mona went out for a while. For Garig, it didn’t end well because Mona was secretly seeing Tom behind his back . . .”
Sam was interrupted by a pretty woman with red hair and glasses:”Welcome onboard, we’ve been waiting for you,” the woman said in a melodic voice.
Chad was surprised when his Uncle blushed. “Uh, Marrion. It’s good to see you. How are you?”
Marrion smiled, “I’m fine Sam, as well as can be expected after last time . ..” Sam’s eyes went wide.
She turned to Chad. “Chad, let’s go read your tattoo.”
Chad nodded, following Marrion into a lab. He lay on his stomach on a table in an examining room off to the side.
Marrion lifted up Chad’s shirt, seeming to know exactly where his cartoon seal was located.
She chuckled. “I bet you got a few bruises for this tattoo in highschool.”
“Yeah, just a few.”
“Hold still Chad,” Marrion said.
He watched her in a mirror parallel to the table, scanning his tattoo multiple times with an expensive device. Then, he felt a few sharp pokes.
Uncle Sam came into the exam room and Marrion turned to him.
“Sam, this is dangerous information in Chad’s tattoo. You can’t go back after this is revealed. There’s grave peril in this path . . . ”
In the near vicinity, Chad heard gunfire and groaned.
“Who is this woman beside Uncle Terrance in a wedding dress? Was he widowed before he married you?” Aunt Rosie gazed at Katie as if she had found something she shouldn’t have touched.
“Where did you find that Katie?”
“Oh, it was out on the table by the front door. I saw Uncle Terrance in there today, taking out some boxes.” Katie said.
“Are you okay Aunt Rosie? You’ve gone pale. What’s with the picture?”
Aunt Rosie shook her head.”I can’t. I just can’t,” she said, holding her throat.
“You seem out of breath. Maybe, relax a moment and I’ll make you some lemon tea. Do you want to tell me about this photo Auntie? I think you would feel better if you did.” Katie remarked.
Aunt Rosie began to hyperventilate. It took a few minutes but Katie calmed her down. ” Nice deep breathes Auntie. That’s it, now here’s your lemon tea. It will soothe your nerves.”
Aunt Rosie sat silently and finished her tea. After about twenty minutes, she began to speak haltingly.
“Your Mom and I . . . we had a little sister, her name- her name was, Marrion. She was – was a younger sister. Only, twenty-seven when she passed on.” Tears ran down Aunt Rosie’s usually cheerful complexion.
“Your Uncle Terrance and Marrion loved each other, from -from the day they met in high school. Marrion was sixteen and Terrance had only graduated. He was working at his Dad’s construction company.”
“Mom, never said anything about her having a baby sister,” Katie said stunned.
“Sharon and I, we don’t like to talk about Marrion. There’s a reason,” Aunt Rosie remarked.
“Terrance married Marrion when she was only seventeen. I had always had feelings for Terrance, but Marrion didn’t care. She said Terrance loved her and she was right.”
“For six-years, everything was fine. I managed to hide my feelings about Terrance and Marrion and Terrance were in their own world of love. Marrion became pregnant at twenty-three and had a girl she named Lisa.” Aunt Rosie admitted.
“What happened to this baby and was Marrion alright? I don’t have a cousin named Lisa?” Katie questioned.
“I know you don’t Katie, let me explain. It’s time – time you knew the truth . . . Marrion suffered from Post – Partum depression. She didn’t care about the baby and could barely get out of bed.”
“For the last four-years of her life, Marrion was in an institution. She kept trying to kill herself. Marrion easily became immersed in self-loathing.” Aunt Rosie recalled.
“Sharon, Terrance, and I, we wanted the old Marrion back. No medication seemed to help her. ECT only made Marrion distant, it was if the real Marrion wasn’t there anymore.”
“Who raised Lisa?” Katie wondered aloud.
“Your Mom raised her dear. Terrance asked her if she would be Lisa’s guardian. He said he couldn’t handle taking care of Lisa while working and visiting Marrion.” Aunt Rosie’s voice began to quiver.
“One day Marrion wasn’t in her room or even in her ward. We found her hanging from a storage room ceiling.” Aunt Rosie sobbed.
Katie went to comfort her but Aunt Rosie held Katie back.” Lisa isn’t Lisa anymore. Your Mom raised Lisa from the time she was three-months-old. Lisa’s your older sister Denise.”
“What?” Katie gasped, having to sit down herself. She was shocked.
“Your Mom asked Lisa after Marrion died, if she would like to choose a different name for herself. Almost five-year-old Lisa chose the name Denise. It was the name she had given to her most treasured Barbie.”
Aunt Rosie’s admission hurt Katie.”How did I not know Denise and I weren’t sisters, but cousins? We look so different in appearance. Her hair is auburn and my hair is blond. She has curves and I’m athletically built.”
“Not to mention, Mom never told me who Denise’s Dad was, she said Denise had been the result of an old boyfriend she didn’t want anything to do with now.” Katie said aghast.
“How did you get together with Uncle Terrance?”
Rosie smiled: “Terrance was devastated when Marrion died and had loved her so much. But he needed comforting.We grew closer and got married.”
“It took a few years, but Uncle Terrance eventually loved me as much as he’d loved Marrion, but in a different way I think. Things came together and Sharon met your Dad and had you. We never spoke of Marrion to anyone but your Dad.”
Aunt Rosie had stopped crying. She smiled and Katie could see she was happy again, as if a burden had been lifted from her shoulders.
Katie thought about her Aunt’s revelations: “That’s unbelievable Aunt Rosie, you guys have all been hiding this from me. I need to talk to my Mom.”
“Oh, you can’t ever tell Sharon, dear.”
“But why?” Katie said frustrated.
“I promised her, Uncle Terrance promised her, and so did your Dad. You were never to know the truth about Denise and the sad fate of Marrion. Sharon was close to Marrion because they were nearer in age. Marrion’s death is a wound your Mother carries and it never heals.”
Katie sighed. “I wish Grandma had told me about this before she died.”
Aunt Rosie smiled softly. “She never knew the truth either, dear. We told her Marrion had a reaction to a new medication and died.”
Katie shook her head sadly,” Talk about skeletons.”